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Applying for Passports

April 27, 1988

I read with regret about Jack Teufel's experience when he applied to renew his passport at the Los Angeles Passport Agency (letters, April 12). I am sorry that Mr. Teufel was unaware that he was probably qualified to send his application by mail or to file it at a major post office or courthouse. Passport applications can be filed at more than 3,500 major post offices across the country or with court clerks in major cities.

For all travelers, we offer the following advice: When deciding to travel, make the passport application the first step in planning the trip. You can apply by mail if you can present your previous passport issued within the past 12 years and you were over 16 years of age when it was issued. First-time applicants must make a personal appearance, but can do so at one of those 3,500 locations mentioned above rather than at a passport field agency.

It's too late for Mr. and Mrs. Teufel. However, they may be happy to learn that we are working with the General Services Administration in Los Angeles to install a videotaped message display in the lobby of the Federal Building to advise people of more time-saving application procedures and alternatives to standing in line.

Our passport field offices do try to provide the most efficient service possible with the staff that is available. Budget constraints limit our ability to increase staff. The passport fees we collect from the public return to the U.S. Treasury. They are not part of the operating budget of the passport agencies.

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has also published a brochure entitled, "Your Trip Abroad," available for $1 from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. This provides useful information for travel planning, as well as details on applying for passports.

SAKAE M. HAWLEY

Regional Director, Department

of State, Passport Agency

Los Angeles

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